Cynthia Crane and Mike Renzi: Blue Rendezvous: Bittersweet Midnight – Blue Songs

Songs,” notes vocalist Cynthia Crane, “(are) my heritage, the stuff of my dreams, through which I fashion fantasy soap-operas invoked by images in words and music.” Taking tunes by masters such as Tom Adair/Matt Dennis, Don Raye/Gene de Paul and Ted Koehler/Harold Arlen, Crane transforms the likes of “The Night We Called It a Day” into poignant mini-dramas. A veteran of New York’s thriving cabaret scene, Crane is an impressive story-teller whose intimate style clearly reveals the soul of a heart-on-sleeve romantic.

Here, Crane’s emotionally charged worlds shimmer against tasteful backdrops limned by pianist/arranger Mike Renzi, bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Ronnie Zito. In addition, there are effective walk-ons by saxophonist Bill Easley, trombonist Wayne Andre, trumpeter Michael Leonhart, guitarist Jay Berliner and vibesman Warren Chiasson. Along with durable standards such as Koehler and Arlen’s “Ill Wind,” there are surprises like the stunning take on Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now,” whose beautifully crafted lyrics are by Carl Sigman. To paraphrase the well-worn lyric by Paul Metz and Jimmy Dorsey, “in this world of ordinary singers, extraordinary singers, I’m glad there is Cynthia Crane!” – Chuck Berg